29 Feb 2012

Get / Show Entity Framework (EF) Generated SQL

Before I forget AGAIN , when you have some linq from EF and you want to see the generated SQL, cast it to ObjectQuery and call ToTraceString().

20 Feb 2012

Using iTextSharp to print Avery Labels PDF with ASP.NET MVC and C#

Tasked with printing labels nicely on Avery L7992 label sheets (or any other type of labels really) from a web application, I did the usual messing around with HTML + CSS in different browsers before deciding to start again and try using PDF generation as a means of getting more control. After a few hours, a bunch of googling, finding tips here and there, I got it to work.

To produce a PDF file, your best bet is to use an existing library. iTextSharp is a powerful PDF generation library for .NET (it's a port of the Java iText library). One downfall is a paucity of good free documentation (although Mike was very helpful: http://www.mikesdotnetting.com).

So, with a reference to itextsharp.dll and a couple of usings in the code (iTextSharp.text and  iTextSharp.text.pdf), this is basically all you need to generate PDF label sheets from your MVC Controller:

public ActionResult LabelsPdf()
	// Open a new PDF document

	const int pageMargin = 5;
	const int pageRows = 5;
	const int pageCols = 2;
	var doc = new Document();
	doc.SetMargins(pageMargin, pageMargin, pageMargin, pageMargin);
	var memoryStream = new MemoryStream();

	var pdfWriter = PdfWriter.GetInstance(doc, memoryStream);

	// Create the Label table

	PdfPTable table = new PdfPTable(pageCols);
	table.WidthPercentage = 100f;
	table.DefaultCell.Border = 0;

	var baseFont = BaseFont.CreateFont(BaseFont.HELVETICA, BaseFont.CP1252, false);

	foreach (var Thing in YourCollectionOfThings)
		#region Label Construction

		PdfPCell cell = new PdfPCell();
		cell.Border = 0;
		cell.FixedHeight = (doc.PageSize.Height - (pageMargin * 2)) / pageRows;
		cell.VerticalAlignment = Element.ALIGN_MIDDLE;

		var contents = new Paragraph();
		contents.Alignment = Element.ALIGN_CENTER;

		contents.Add(new Chunk(string.Format("Thing #{0}\n", Thing.ThingId), new Font(baseFont, 11f, Font.BOLD)));
		contents.Add(new Chunk(string.Format("Thing Name: {0}\n", Thing.Name), new Font(baseFont, 8f)));




	// Close PDF document and send

	pdfWriter.CloseStream = false;
	memoryStream.Position = 0;
	return File(memoryStream, "application/pdf");
If I helped you out today, you can buy me a beer below. Cheers!